Thousands of DACA recipients in Wisconsin await imminent Supreme Court decision
Thousands of Wisconsinites in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program await its U.S. Supreme Court decision, which immigration lawyers say could arrive any day as the court wraps up its cases for the summer. President Donald Trump terminated the program in 2017, a decision that was declared invalid by multiple lower federal courts and now waits a decision in the highest court of the land.
Records from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicate there were
in Wisconsin at the end of 2020, a count that doesn’t include those eligible for the program. USCIS
last year for new applicants, but continues to renew those already in the program.
DACA provides a two-year renewable period to recipients that defers any deportation activities and allows those who were brought into the country illegally at a young age to get an education, driver’s license, and work permit.
In a press conference on Thursday, college students with Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based immigrant advocacy organization, explained what it was like—waiting for a Supreme Court decision that could change life as they know it.
“Our lives are at stake,” Daniel Gutierrez said, a senior at Cardinal Stritch University. “Our futures are on edge.”
27% of DACA recipients are essential workers in the COVID-19 economy, according to the Center for American Progress. That includes pharmacy technician Morelia Blanco, a student at UW-Madison.
“I’m able to go to college,” she noted. “I have transportation to go to my classes. I’m able to pay for my classes. I was able to get an internship at my courthouse where I help low income communities.”
For them and others like them, the decision would put them in jeopardy of deportation—and strip away the documentation that allows them to build their lives. When reached for comment on how quickly deportation could be expected if the decision were to go in favor of the Trump administration’s program termination, ISCIS said they do not comment on ongoing litigation.
“There’s been a lot of pressure from a lot of nonprofits to hold off until Covid is under control or we have a vaccine so we don’t cause additional turmoil to people who have been in the country for so long,” UW-Madison Law School professor Erin Barbato said, the director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic. She warns that a decision that would put current recipients at risk of deportation would flood an already-scarce pool of immigration attorneys in Wisconsin with thousands of additional cases.
“The Supreme Court decisions normally are done by the end of June, but they may go into July—so in the next three to four weeks we’ll know what the decision is.”